curf - Center for Undergraduate Research & Fellowships



Current Students

Purpose and eligibility

University Scholars funding is for those who would not otherwise be able to carry out their projects. If you do not require funding for your project, we still want to recognize your project in a presentation and on our website. University Scholars are eligible for funding while they are students at the University.


Proposals should approach professional standards for your field of inquiry. Footnotes and other references to others’ related work are often appropriate. Please treat this proposal as a scholarly paper and address in essay form all parts of the questions.


What is the question you’re asking? What do you intend to find out? Are you building on some already known piece(s) of knowledge? If so, tell us about it, then explain how your project connects with or adds to the existing knowledge. Are there implications to your intended study? Do you expect the discipline will make use of and build upon your work? If so, how? If your project is more experience-based — if, that is, you intend to have a set of experiences in the course of which you will learn some specific things — what are those things? And how do you anticipate you will learn them through the experience?


What methods, techniques and/or processes will you use in order to investigate what you have told us you will investigate? For the purpose of this inquiry, what is “data” and how will you acquire it? How will you analyze it? (Some experience-based projects may not have “data” as such, but they will have ways in which you intend to have the experience, and to report on it.) Will you be learning new methodology or techniques, and if so, how?

Goals and background

What is your previous background with the material and ideas you intend to study? What skills do you anticipate you will need, what skills do you have, what skills do you expect to acquire in the course of your work? In what way does this project connect with your academic plans, goals, and intentions? How does it link your study and inquiry so far with your future study and inquiry? What does this project mean for your career, and for yourself?



There is a standard stipend of $1000 a month for room and board, with a maximum of three months, while living near Penn. If you have special circumstances, please ask for what you need, but be prepared to fully explain the circumstances.

Expenses and supplies

We expect that laboratory supplies and materials for research will be supplied by the lab in which you’re working. Materials may not necessarily be supplied in other (non-lab) fields. In all cases, if you are requesting funding for expenses, supplies, materials, or books, please include a specific list of what you’ll need and explain why these must be provided through University Scholars funding.


International airfares vary widely. You are expected to research the most economical fare. Please itemize airfare, lodging and food, and local travel, and save ALL receipts. University Scholars does not provide travel funding to somewhere you would be anyhow, such as for a job or study abroad. There may be special circumstances; if so, please explain.

University Scholars does not provide tuition and does not purchase equipment or other durable goods. This funding is not salary, and it is not calculated on an hourly basis.

Faculty Support

The committee requires a letter of support from your faculty sponsor or advisor. This letter should be specific to the project and needs to address the usefulness and feasibility of the project within the time frame you intend. It should indicate that you have the skills, background, experience and knowledge particularly related to the methodology. This is not a general statement of your overall academic talents. It should also speak to the role of the faculty advisor and how closely or distantly he/she will work with the project. It may also discuss others who will provide additional advice or consultation.


Application for funding for summer projects should be completed and submitted to University Scholars office by April 1st. Applications during the course of the year should be submitted at least 3 weeks before funding will be needed.

Upon Return

At the end of the funding period, you are expected to present your research at a University Scholars gathering. For budget purposes, the office will need receipts from transportation (airfare, rail fare, etc.) and hotels at the end of your funding grant.

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CURF, University of Pennsylvania
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